On Tuesday the Washington Post published an article on hapless Republican congressional candidates, hoodwinked by greedy media companies that exploit their fundraising prowess and leave them with nothing. The horror!
Patient Zero for this investigation is Kimberly Klacik, the failed GOP congressional candidate in Maryland's 7th District. Klacik professed that she "almost passed out" when she discovered she'd pocketed less than a quarter of her fundraising haul after one of her campaign ads went viral.
While the Post notes in passing that the spot, produced by Newsmax's Benny Johnson, "showed her marching in a red dress and high heels past abandoned buildings in Baltimore, asserting that Democrats do not care about Black lives," it neglects to mention that it went viral because Donald Trump and his vile elder son used it as a stick to beat a majority-Black Democratic city with. Nor does it query why a candidate running to represent the people of Maryland in our nation's capital couldn't be bothered to read her own vendor contracts. Probably because they were too busy tut-tutting over poor Kim Klacik getting chewed up and spit out by "the system."
Her campaign is an example of how some consulting firms are profiting handsomely from Republican candidates who have robust appeal in today's politically charged environment — even when they are running in deep-blue districts where it is virtually impossible for them to win. The more viral the candidate goes, the more money the companies make — a model possible only through the online outrage machine of hyperpartisan politics.
Fundraising companies say their fees are well-earned and still leave candidates with more money than they would have if their ads had not been shared widely. But critics, including Klacik and some other 2020 candidates, say the system is deceptive, trapping first-time politicians in onerous contracts that siphon away cash their donors intended for them.
As of this writing, the piece is still trending in the Local section, although it includes precious little "local" background to flesh out the story. But I grew up in the 7th District and currently reside next door in the 3rd, and this article pissed me off enough to write a 20-tweet thread about it, so, yes, let's talk about poor Kim Klacik, caught in the clutches of those ruthless ad guys, shall we?